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Tried & True Thanksgiving Recipes

The holidays are always a fullfiling time of year, especially when it comes down to the cooking. Like many other cooks in the family, I’m constantly coming up with recipes that are sure to please the family, each and every year. I have three Thanksgiving recipes — Jalapeno Cheese Bread Dressing, Homemade Green Bean Casserole, and Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole — that have graced our Thanksgiving feast for quite some time now. I’m sharing these recipes with you in hopes that your family can enjoy them as much as mine does.

Jalapeno Cheese Bread Dressing
with Pan Sausage, Toasted Pecans and Cranberries (Serves 10-12)

This dressing captures the great flavors of the fall season and is perfect alongside our Mesquite Smoked Turkey on your Thanksgiving Table, Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Jalapeno Cheese Bread ½” cubes (Available at Goode Co. BBQ or online at GoodeCompany.com)
  • ½ lb fresh sausage, without casings (available from your local butcher)
  • 2 TBL unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 TBL rendered bacon fat
  • 2 c medium diced onions
  • 1/2 c green bell pepper-medium diced (1/4 inch)
  • 1/2 c celery-medium diced (1/4 inch)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp Goode Company Creole seasoning
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, medium pieces
  • 1c dried cranberries roughly chopped
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 c chicken stock or low sodium broth, as needed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

To make the dressing: preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place cubed bread on a baking sheet and into oven for 15 minutes, shake pan to turn pieces and place back into oven for another 10 minutes until bread is slightly dry on the edges, set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Heat bacon fat in a heavy bottomed skillet on medium heat, add the fresh sausage and break with the back of a wooden spoon until browned turn sausage into bowl. Add butter to the pan along with onions, bell pepper and celery stirring occasionally until the vegetables are crisp tender. Add garlic and Creole seasoning stirring until fragrant and add the reserved sausage back to the pan and stir until mixed in with vegetables. Turn the vegetable mixture into a large mixing bowl. Fold in the bread, cranberries, and fresh herbs. Fold in chicken stock a ¼c at a time until the mixture begins to come together and is moist. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Lastly fold in beaten eggs.

Place the dressing into a buttered 13×9 pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes until a golden crust is formed.

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

This version of the classic brings in a homemade “mushroom soup” and crispy fried onions that takes it over the top!

Ingredients:

Green Beans:

  • 2 lb. fresh green beans cleaned and ends removed
  • 4 strips smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 c diced yellow onion
  • 2 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 tsp creole seasoning
  • 4 c chicken stock or broth

Homemade “mushroom soup”:

  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
  • ½ c AP flour
  • 2 ½ c chicken stock or broth, (if using store bought get low sodium)
  • 2 ½ c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 c fine diced onion
  • 2 c cleaned cremini mushrooms, fine chopped
  • 1 ½ c sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (Black Diamond is my favorite)
  • 1 ½ c yellow cheddar, grated

Crispy onion topping:

  • 2 c very thinly sliced boiler onions to make rings
  • 1 c AP Flour
  • 2 tsp Creole seasoning to season flour

Beans:

  • Render bacon pieces in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until softened. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the green beans and chicken stock. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for approximately 30-40 minutes until beans are tender. Strain and reserve cooking liquid and beans.

Directions:

Crispy fried onions: Heat oil in a large skillet until itreaches 350 degrees. Toss ¼ of onions in seasoned flour, shaking off excess flour. Gently fry in batches until golden and crispy. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer remove onions from pan and turn onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat process until all onions are fried.

For the sauce: Melt 4 tbl of butter in sauce pot over medium high heat until it the foam subsides. Add mushrooms and sear until the mushrooms get nice and browned and the mushroom liquid has evaporated. Add onion salt, pepper and thyme and cook until the onion has softened. Add chicken stock and reduce until there is only about ¾ cup of stock remains. Melt the remaining butter in a sauce pot over medium heat until foam subsides, whisk in flour and continue to cook until blond roux is formed you will be able to smell the flour cooking. Add the mushroom mixture to the pan and whisk in cream. Simmer and whisk in handfuls of white cheddar cheese until it is fully incorporated into the sauce and it coats the back of a spoon. If it gets too thick whisk in a ¼c at a time of the bean cooking liquid until the right consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Assembly: Preheat oven to 350, butter a 9×13 casserole dish. Turn the sauce, green beans and yellow cheddar into a large mixing bowl and toss until combined. Turn the green bean mix into the casserole dish and bake until bubbly 20-30 minutes. Add the crispy fried onions and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until onions are golden brown.

Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole
with a Southern Praline Crust (Serves 8-10)

This is my version of great a recipe my sister-in-law has been holding out on me for years. This dish will ensure you get your daily allowance of sweet potatoes on Turkey day, guaranteed!

Ingredients:

  • 4 c sweet potatoes that have been peeled, quartered and boiled until tender.
  • ½ c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ½ c heavy whipping cream

For the praline crust:

  • ¼ lb butter, unsalted (1 stick)
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • ½ c all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ c medium chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 2 quart casserole dish. Place cooked sweet potatoes into a countertop stand mixer with the whisk attached. (substitute a hand held beater and a large mixing bowl if you don’t have a stand mixer.) On low speed, mix in the butter, sugar and cream and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Turn the sweet potato mixture into a buttered casserole dish and spread evenly. Mix the praline topping well until the butter has softened and sprinkles easily. Spread out an even layer of the praline topping and place into the oven on top rack and bake until the crust has formed and is bubbly about 30-45 minutes. Cool to set crust before serving.

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